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Addiction and ChoiceRethinking the relationship$
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Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.001.0001

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Compulsion and choice in addiction

Compulsion and choice in addiction

(p.153) Chapter 9 Compulsion and choice in addiction
Addiction and Choice

Richard Holton

Kent Berridge

Oxford University Press

Most accounts of addiction either see it as a disease, and hence outside the addict’s control, or else as involving chosen behavior, and hence within the addict’s control. Contrary conclusions about responsibility are held to follow. We argue that this involves a false dichotomy. There is good evidence that addiction does involve a pathological decoupling of wanting and liking—addicts want—indeed, crave—their drugs without necessarily liking them. However, whilst cravings are outside addicts’ control, this does not mean that they have no control over whether they act on those cravings. We draw on findings about self-control to argue that self-control in these circumstances is possible but hard; and we consequently argue for a graded notion of responsibility.

Keywords:   addiction, wanting, liking, self-control, cravings, responsibility

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